Abortion is a topic that is steeped in controversy in the United States and throughout the world. It is one that will not be easily resolved and one in which the basis for the two-sided argument, those for or against, lies solely in matters of opinion. While some claim a religious foundation as the basis for their position one has to remember that in a country in which church and state are separated, religious views should have as much clout as opinion.
To understand the conflict behind the abortion debate it is important to understand the birth of the abortion law. Abortions were illegal in the United States until nineteen seventy-three. It was during this time that United Sates Supreme Court heard the case of Roe v. Wade. The case was between the defendant, whose real name was Norma McCorvey but went under the anonymous name of Jane Roe for privacy reasons, and Henry Wade who was prosecutor in the state of Texas (Hadley p.2). Before nineteen seventy- three it was illegal to perform an abortion in the state of Texas unless the mothers life was in danger. This was the case brought before the Supreme Court, a single mother of two fighting the criminal implications of having a third unborn child aborted (Dworkin p7).
The courts opinion on the case was written by Justice Harry Blackmun, and stated the belief that the Texas abortion law was unconstitutional because it violated the fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, which is the right to privacy. In turn no state could declare abortion illegal if preformed in the first two trimesters, before the seventh month. However after the fetus was capable of being born live the state could regulate or even ban abortion so long as the mother's life or health were not in danger (Prichard). This court decision declared abortion legal but left the individual states to determine the specifics.
According to some legal scholars however the decision of Roe v. Wade g